Still Life With Reluctant Dream

The dream sits on a stool with a black blanket over it.

I point my antiquated pinhole camera at the shape

on the stool, to capture at least the folds in the fabric

which affirm that something is living. Amidst the dust

and velvet backdrop are crystals, a bird’s nest,

a red telephone: small objects I have placed

to ease the dream’s transition from the ether

where I netted it. The dream must feel at home

before I document and conquer it. I need to know

so badly. The dream knows this, my weak-kneed

need to know, and keeps the blanket on.

I burn a dictionary: the dream rustles

just once. I feel it is cruel, that the dream stays a shape

in my own room of ritual, though I have all day for this,

to try to take the blanket off,

make it sing a little.